Contemporary Art in Bhutan represents a burgeoning and promising concept, with vast potential for growth and development. We are motivated to introduce you to the finest local artists whose work is both invigorating and distinctive. These artists draw inspiration from the centuries-old, distinctive spiritual traditions of the Himalayan Kingdom.
We invite you to explore our Online Art Gallery, where you can peruse our constantly evolving art collection and discover your favorite pieces crafted in or inspired by Bhutan. With the convenience of online ordering, you can bring home these treasures today, benefiting from free worldwide delivery right to your doorstep
OUR FEATURED BHUTANESE ARTISTS:
THE TWINZ - „Two bodies with one soul.”
Widely regarded as ‘one’ of the most talented contemporary painters in their country, identical twin brothers Tashi Dendup and Ugyen Samdrup live and work at 2300m above sea level in Thimphu, the capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Since 2014, going by the artist name TWINZ, they have been following their own distinctive professional path: they blend contemporary painting with ancient Buddhist and Shamanistic traditions and artistic expression. What makes them unique apart from their impressive art is that they work together on their paintings. They are ‘two bodies with one soul’. Always inseparable.
The TWINZ first were interested in discovering music, but then their fascination with European painters, particularly Rembrandt, made them study Fine Arts at Lovely Professional University in India. Their first solo exhibition in 2017 was themed ‘Warriors’ that was inspired by a chapter ‘The sacred path of the Warrior’ in the book entitled ‘The Essential’ of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the late influential Tibetan Buddhist master.
A year later, their second solo exhibition ‘Invoking Entities’ in India was inspired by Shamanism and Vajrayana Buddhism and dedicated to His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan, who himself enjoys painting and supports art and artists in the country. Their big dream is to have their solo exhibition held in Europe and become internationally recognised ambassadors of contemporary Bhutanese art.
‘Normally, we don’t talk much, we don’t express it through. Painting is more of our voice, through that we can express what we have inside… We do have some favourite painters, especially in Renaissance, Baroque: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Rubens.’ - say The TWINZ.
To date, several of their artworks - painted with oil and acrylic on canvas - have been bought by local art lovers, friends of Bhutan across the globe, visitors of their Thimphu studio, and prominent art lovers in Bhutan. No doubt: they are truly among the most promising and exciting artists emerging in Bhutan today.
Besides painting together every day, The TWINZ also illustrate children’s books, do jogging in the mountains, and help their mother’s professional gardening business.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THE TWINZ
‘Basically in Bhutan, even today, artists are being used as a good tool to enhance the spiritual part, enhance the religious part. The TWINZ are really trying to tackle that concept, non-traditionally. What I appreciate in these young guys is that their approaching and they’re very serious about their work. They represent an excellent blend of contemporary, realistic, and honest expression of their own unique sense, yet very Bhutanese.’
- Asha Kama Wangdi, painter & father of Bhutan’s Contemporary Art
’They have always been fascinated with faces ever since they were young, even toddlers. We used to have our relatives over for dinners and they used to take out sketchbook and just draw figures. They have always been into figurative art.
They are very spiritual also. They blended the curiosity in the faces along with the spiritual craving. I think people are very fascinated by the fact that the two of them paint together on one piece. It’s like that two of them are two bodies with one soul.
I think what they are doing is very different and unique from what the current Bhutanese artists are doing here.’
- Yachna Gurung, sister and manager of the TWINZ
‘Visiting the home art studio of the TWINZ for the first time, I got surprised and fascinated by not only the quality of their paintings, but equally by the quality of their hearts and minds. They are both talented, humble, spiritual, kind, and hard-working young people who have already changed the art scheme in Bhutan forever.
When I saw their artworks, I said to them: Let’s bring your art to people outside of Bhutan. It is beautiful, unique, and captivating.’
- Zoltan Valcsicsak, founder of www.inspiredbybhutan.com
WHAT THE TWINZ SAY ABOUT THEIR ART
‘The concept of our work is directly inspired by Vajrayana Buddhism, Shamanism and tangible and intangible culture of Bhutan. Tangible culture like paintings, sculptures and temples. Intangible culture like knowledge, wisdom and skills.
We try to convey these concepts through the use of traditional icons and symbols, combined with realistic or semi realistic human portraits. Humans symbolise the innate warrior spirit that we all possess. By recognising the basic goodness or the awakened nature of our ordinary mind, we become warriors to battle our psychological and physical obstacles in our mundane lives.
The style of our work is a fusion of figurative/portrait with spiritual symbols and colourful abstract background. Use of different colours also represents the psychedelic trance through meditation and visualisation. We are inspired by Bhutanese traditional art, but we paint in western contemporary style. We mostly use oil and acrylic on cotton canvas.
We are fascinated by the wisdom and skills that Buddhism uses and teaches to understand the nature of mind, understand the concept of non duality, understand relative truth and ultimate truth, etc. one way or the other we try to convey these messages symbolically even though confused beings like us can only understand it intellectually.
Artists we venerate are Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, Gustave Klimt, Edgar Maxence, Jean Delville, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Bouguereau, Claude Monet, Katsushika Hokusai and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi. And not just by their technical skills but also by their idealist movement in art.
Before we adopted this concept and style of painting few years ago, we did realism, pop art, book illustrations and few landscape paintings for commercial and private commissions.’ - The Twinz
THEIR SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2017: ’Warriors’, VAST Gallery, Thimphu, Bhutan
2018: ’Invoking Entities’, Bikaner House, New Delhi, India
2023: 'Bliss', River City Gallery, Bangkok
Born in 1983 in Trashigang, Bhutan, Pema Gyeltshen's passion for art ignited at a young age, as he often found himself sketching, drawing, and scribbling on the pages of his school notebooks rather than concentrating on his lessons.
In 1998, Pema embarked on a transformative journey by joining the Voluntary Artists Studio Thimphu (VAST), where he acquired a fundamental understanding of art and painting. The knowledge and inspiration he gained during this time laid the foundation for his career as a committed artist.
Upon completing high school, he regrettably veered off course, falling into a period of substance abuse and aimless wanderings with like-minded individuals. Eventually, a pivotal realization struck him, compelling him to break free from his self-destructive habits.
Recognizing that he had been driving down the wrong path, he made a resolute U-turn and never looked back. He sought meaningful employment to stand on his own feet and gain a real-world perspective. He worked at a Tyre Repair and Resoling workshop for three years, assisted in land survey for one year, and spent another year at a brokerage office. These experiences were essential in shaping his character and instilling a strong work ethic.
In 2012, he made the life-altering decision to commit himself entirely to the pursuit of art, despite the numerous challenges that lay ahead. Since then, his unwavering focus has been on creating art, participating in exhibitions and workshops, and venturing abroad to share his work with kindred spirits. He has successfully sold his artworks both within and beyond Bhutan, turning his passion into a means of sustenance.
His artwork encompasses a wide array of themes, including religion, tradition, culture, everyday life, abstracts, and self-expression, reflecting his deep appreciation for diversity and a strong connection to traditional forms of expression. The majority of his works are crafted using acrylic and watercolors.
Art has not only provided him with a unique lens through which to view the world, untarnished by external influences, but it has also nurtured his social skills and personal growth. It has taught his the value of humility and bestowed upon his a sense of purpose. Art is his lifeline, infusing meaning into his existence. His sole aspiration now is to push myself to the limits, producing profound, soulful expressions on blank canvases, and, if possible, contribute to the contemporary art scene in Bhutan.
2018: Participation: South Asia Folk Arts Exhibition, Kunming, China.
2018: Participation: The 9th Asian International Art Exhibition, Qingdao, China
2018: Participation: ‘Power’, an art competition and exhibition, VAST Bhutan and Royal Textile Academy,
2018: Participation: Bhutan week in Delhi, exhibition for 50 years of Indo-Bhutan Friendship celebration
2018: Participation: ‘Colors of love’, group exhibition, Bhutan and Singapore Artist union, Thimphu,
2018: Participation: India-Bhutan Cultural Exchange and Art camp, Delhi, India
2017: Facilitator: Winter Youth Art camp, VAST Bhutan, Funded by MOIC, Thimphu
2017: Participation: ‘Patterns of Happiness’, art exhibition and competition, Royal Textile Academy,
2017: Contribution of artwork: The Art of Giving, exhibition, VAST Bhutan (annual event)
2017: Participation: India-Bhutan cultural exchange and art camp, Thimphu,Bhutan
2016: Participation: International Art Exhibition, Kathmandu, Nepal
2016: Certificate of Appreciation: The 8th Asian Art Exhibition, Malaysia
2016: Certificate of Participation: First International Fine Arts and Poetry Exhibition, Siliguri, India
2016: Certificate of Participation: SAARC Artists camp, Bhutan
2016: Certificate of Merit: First Position, Art Competition, NWCC, Indian Embassy, Thimphu
2015: Certificate of Participation: Bhutan International Festival
2012: Certificate of Appreciation: Arts and Painting coordinator, Youth Development Fund
Born in 1999, Peyma Dee considers himself a self-taught artist currently residing in Thimphu. Art wasn't initially his dream during his school days; like many, he aspired to pursue an academically-oriented profession. However, his participation in numerous art competitions and winning accolades never hinted at a potential livelihood.
Upon completing high school, serendipity led him to a transformative six-month stint with a traditional painter, delving into the intricate world of Bhutanese traditional painting. It was a revelation, marking his first intimate encounter with colours and brushes.
In 2019, during his second year of college, he ventured into the realm of canvas painting. Since then, art has become his anchor. In moments of free time, he immerses himself in painting, using it as a conduit to sustain his connection with colours and nourish his creative spirit. This dedication swiftly translated into earning through commissioned works within a year.
Following the completion of a Bachelor's in Computer Science in 2022, he made a conscious choice to embrace a full-time artistic career. Amidst a landscape where people are departing their jobs for greener pastures abroad, the decision was daunting. Yet, he is resolute not to capitulate and tread cautiously along this path. In these early stages, his focus lies on commissioned works rather than crafting original pieces.
His art gravitates towards blending realism with influences drawn from Bhutanese culture and nature. He revels in utilizing an extensive array of media and techniques to breathe life into his concepts. However, his aspirations extend beyond his artistic journey. Despite being an emerging artist, his goal is to inspire and educate budding artists in his own modest ways, while also contributing to fostering a vibrant and creative society in Bhutan.
To request Peyma Dee for commissioned artwork, please contact us.
Visit our Online Gallery to explore and purchase select paintings from our featured artists. If you're keen on exploring their broader portfolio of artworks or commissioning them, please feel free to get in touch with us. We'd be delighted to assist you.